Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail [NOOK Book]

Overview

Emma Gatewood was the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alone, as well as the first person—man or woman—to walk it twice and three times and she did it all after the age of 65. This is the first and only biography of Grandma Gatewood, as the reporters called her, who became a hiking celebrity in the 1950s and ’60s. She appeared on TV with Groucho Marx and Art Linkletter, and on the pages of Sports Illustrated. The public attention she brought to the little-known footpath was unprecedented. Her ...

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Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail

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Overview

Emma Gatewood was the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alone, as well as the first person—man or woman—to walk it twice and three times and she did it all after the age of 65. This is the first and only biography of Grandma Gatewood, as the reporters called her, who became a hiking celebrity in the 1950s and ’60s. She appeared on TV with Groucho Marx and Art Linkletter, and on the pages of Sports Illustrated. The public attention she brought to the little-known footpath was unprecedented. Her vocal criticism of the lousy, difficult stretches led to bolstered maintenance, and very likely saved the trail from extinction. Author Ben Montgomery was given unprecedented access to Gatewood’s own diaries, trail journals, and correspondence. He also unearthed historic newspaper and magazine articles and interviewed surviving family members and hikers Gatewood met along the trail. The inspiring story of Emma Gatewood illustrates the full power of human spirit and determination.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A quiet delight of a book." —-Kirkus
Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-16
A journalist's biography of the unassuming but gutsy 67-year-old Ohio grandmother who became the first person to walk all 2,050 miles of the Appalachian Trail three times. When Emma Gatewood (1887–1983) first decided she would hike the A.T., she told no one what she planned to do—not even her 11 children or 23 grandchildren. Instead, she quietly slipped away from her home in May 1955 and began her walk at the southern terminus of the trail in Georgia. Accomplishing this feat—which she often described as "a good lark"—was enough for her. Tampa Bay Times staff writer Montgomery tells the story of Gatewood's first hike and those that followed, interweaving the story with the heartbreaking details of her earlier life. He suggests that this woman, who eventually came to be known as "Queen of the Forest," was far from the eccentric others claimed she was. Instead, Montgomery posits that this celebrated hiker used long-distance walking to help her come to terms with a dark secret. At 18, Gatewood married a man she later discovered had a violent temper and an insatiable sexual appetite. Despite repeated beatings over 30 years, she remained with him until he nearly killed her. Afterward, she lived happily with her children for almost 20 years. Montgomery suggests that an article in National Geographic may have been what first inspired Gatewood to hike the trail. However, as her remarkable trek demonstrated, while the A.T. was as beautiful as the magazine claimed, it was also in sore need of maintenance. Gatewood's exploits, which would later include walking the Oregon Trail, not only brought national attention to the state of hikers' trails across a nation obsessed with cars and newly crisscrossed with highways; it also made Americans more aware of the joys of walking and of nature itself. A quiet delight of a book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781613747216
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 19,421
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author


Ben Montgomery is a staff writer at the Tampa Bay Times and cofounder of the Auburn Chautauqua, a Southern writers’ collective. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2010 and has won many other national writing awards.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 3, 2014

    Amazing story of courage and determination. We can all learn a l

    Amazing story of courage and determination. We can all learn a lesson from Emma Gatewood. 

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 27, 2015

    Since Grandma Gateway and I are the same age she puts me to sham

    Since Grandma Gateway and I are the same age she puts me to shame but also inspired me to at least give it a try and start somewhere. Great coach! Thumbs up to Grandma Gateway.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted January 9, 2015

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    Posted January 21, 2015

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